1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Blasius, Saint
BLASIUS (or Blaise), SAINT}}, bishop of Sebaste or Sivas in Asia Minor, martyred under Diocletian on the 3rd of February 316. The Roman Catholic Church holds his festival on the 3rd of February, the Orthodox Eastern Church on the 11th. His flesh is said to have been torn with woolcombers’ irons before he was beheaded, and this seems to be the only reason why he has always been regarded as the patron saint of woolcombers. In pre-Reformation England St Blaise was a very popular saint, and the council of Oxford in 1222 forbade all work on his festival. Owing to a miracle which he is alleged to have worked on a child suffering from a throat affection, who was brought to him on his way to execution, St Blaise’s aid has always been held potent in throat and lung diseases. The woolcombers of England still celebrate St Blaise’s day with a procession and general festivities. He forms one of a group of fourteen (i.e. twice seven) saints, who for their help in time of need have been associated as objects of particularly devoted worship in Roman Catholic Germany since the middle of the 15th century.